Inside Llewyn Davis
"Inside Llewyn Davis" is the most satisfyingly diabolical cinematic structure that the Coens have ever contrived, and that's just one reason that I suspect it…
"Besides race, three things make Dave Chappelle’s comedy innovative and universal: wit, self-deprecation, and toilet humor. This is the same triumvirate that makes Philip Roth’s writing so original. Woody Allen’s movies, too. Chappelle had a keen sense of the archetypal nature of race, and understood just as acutely how people work on a very basic level. In a Chappelle’s Show sketch about the reality show Trading Spouses, a black man sits on a toilet in a white family’s house and flips through a copy of People magazine while taking a dump. He looks up: 'Who the fuck is Renée Zellwedger?' In another sketch, a stodgy, Waspy white man (Chappelle in whiteface) lies in bed with an attractive black woman in classy lingerie. He wants her. But he wants to make love with his pajamas on. Chappelle did such a good job of truth-telling, on every subject, that nobody knew what to do when he just stopped talking. In no way did his quitting conform to our understanding of the comic’s one obligation: to be funny. To talk to us. To entertain us. To make us laugh. We aren’t used to taking no for an answer, to being rejected, especially not by the people who are supposed to make us smile. Especially not by black men who are supposed to make us smile."
"If you were waiting for someone to lean in for child care legislation, keep holding your breath. So far, there’s no discernible groundswell. When asked why she isn’t pushing for structural social and economic change, Sandberg says she’s all in favor of “public policy reform,” though she’s vague about how exactly that would work, beyond generic tsk-tsking about the pay gap and lack of maternity leave. She says she supports reforming the workplace—but the particulars of comparable worth or subsidized child care are hardly prominent elements of her book or her many media appearances. Sandberg began her TED Talk in December 2010, the trial balloon for the Lean In campaign, with a one-sentence nod to “flex time,” training, and other “programs” that might advance working women, and then declared, “I want to talk about none of that today.” What she wanted to talk about, she said, was “what we can do as individuals” to climb to the top of the command chain. This clipped, jarring shift from the collective grievances of working women to the feel-good options open to credentialed, professional types is also a pronounced theme in Lean In, the book."
"Where cinema, at its best, invites us into a world for 90 minutes or so, great television barges into ours, fostering in our minds and living with us every off-air moment like a parasite we're pleased to have. A TV show ages alongside us, its evolution acting as a benchmark for our own as we grow up in tandem with its characters. Its monopoly over the cliffhanger comes, aside from the obvious commercial concerns, as a natural extension of its integral purpose to replicate the feel and flow of real life: how often, after all, are our everyday problems immediately solved? That's perhaps never been better seen than in the 'Up' series, surely the most profound use to which TV's capability for long-form storytelling has yet been put."
"Everything we’ve seen [at this year's VIFF] has been on some form of video—excuse me, 'digital cinema.' Apart from the occasional 35mm or HDCam show, DCP projection, after a couple of years of teething pains, is the norm. Not that this guarantees uniformity. Albert Serra’s Story of My Death, a peculiar portrait of the elderly Casanova, still looked (probably intentionally) like it was shot on VHS. The furor about festivals’ conversion to digital formats, discussed in this 2012 blog entry and extended in my little e-book, belongs firmly to history. Henceforth film festivals will be file festivals."
Ronan (formerly Satchel) Farrow's response to the rumors he may be the son of Frank Sinatra rather than Woody Allen.
A trailer for "The Wes Anderson Collection" by RogerEbert.com's Matt Zoller Seitz.
Gerardo Valero sees the potential for a good remake in "Escape from New York."
The first in a monthly series of video essays about unloved films, Scout Tafoya's video essay is an appreciation of "...
Women are nicer than men. There are exceptions. Most people of both sexes are probably fairly nice, given the nat...
Erik Childress looks at the first awards of the season and their possible impact on the Oscar race.